Architecture Is Moving Into a Realm Where History Plays as Much a Part as Medium

    <figure>
Detail: Träbågen (unrealized). Image © Space Popular Detail: Träbågen (unrealized). Image © Space Popular

In this essay British architect and academic Dr. Timothy Brittain-Catlin presents the work of Space Popular, an emerging practice exploring the meaning of and methods behind deploying virtual reality techniques in the architectural design process.

Architectural practice, especially in the UK, is moving fast into a realm where history plays as much a part as medium. But the ways in which architects work have been transformed entirely from those of the past, generating a fundamental conflict: how in practice does design through virtual reality use history? In the earliest days of fly-throughs we all realised that we could show our work to clients in a way that even the least plan-literate could understand. We could develop details three-dimensionally and from different angles, even representing different times of day. But what next? How do we engage historical knowledge and experience of buildings?

This

Infinity Spa, Bangkok (2015). Image © Space Popular
Infinity Spa, Bangkok (2015). Image © Space Popular
Infinity Spa, Bangkok (2015). Image © Space Popular
Infinity Spa, Bangkok (2015). Image © Space Popular
Träbågen (unrealized). Image © Space Popular
Träbågen (unrealized). Image © Space Popular
Örebro (unrealized). Image © Space Popular
Örebro (unrealized). Image © Space Popular
Hilma af Klint Museum (unrealized). Image © Space Popular
Continue reading "Architecture Is Moving Into a Realm Where History Plays as Much a Part as Medium"

From Pastel Pink to Pastel Blue: Why Colorful Architecture is Nothing New

    <figure>
Debenham House, 8 Addison Road, Kensington, by Halsey Ricardo (1905-1908). Image Courtesy of Hidden London Debenham House, 8 Addison Road, Kensington, by Halsey Ricardo (1905-1908). Image Courtesy of Hidden London

In this essay by the British architect and academic Dr. Timothy Brittain-Catlin, the fascinating journey that color has taken throughout history to the present day—oscillating between religious virtuosity and puritan fear—is unpicked and explained. You can read Brittain-Catlin's essay on British postmodernism, here.

Like blushing virgins, the better architecture students of about ten years ago started to use coy colors in their drawings: pastel pink, pastel blue, pastel green; quite a lot of grey, some gold: a little like the least-bad wrapping paper from a high street store. Now step back and look at a real colored building – William Butterfield’s All Saints’ Church, Margaret Street, London, or Keble College, Oxford, or the interior of A.W.N. Pugin’s church of St. Giles in Cheadle, UK. They blow you away with blasts of unabashed, rich

A view into the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament of St Giles’ church, Cheadle, by A.W.N. Pugin (1840-1846). Acknowledgments to Michael Fisher. Image © Mark Titterton
Keble College Chapel, Oxford, by William Butterfield (1867-1883). Image © Timothy Brittain-Catlin
All Saints’ Church, Margaret Street, London, by William Butterfield (1849-1859), photographed by Keith Diplock. Image © Timothy Brittain-Catlin
Right: 99A Charing Cross Road, by C.H. Worley (1904). Left: Courtyard porch at Comyn Ching, by the Terry Farrell Partnership (1978-1985). Image © Timothy Brittain-Catlin
Continue reading "From Pastel Pink to Pastel Blue: Why Colorful Architecture is Nothing New"

Understanding British Postmodernism (Hint: It’s Not What You Thought)

    <figure>
Staff Accommodation block at St Paul’s Girl’s School, by John Melvin (1985), photographed by Martin Charles. Image © John Melvin Staff Accommodation block at St Paul’s Girl’s School, by John Melvin (1985), photographed by Martin Charles. Image © John Melvin

In this essay by the British architect and academic Dr. Timothy Brittain-Catlin, the very notion of British postmodernism—today often tied to the work of James Stirling and the the thinking of Charles Jencks—is held to question. Its origins, however, are in fact rather more unique.

I grew up in a beautiful late Victorian terrace with ornamental brickwork, shaped ‘Dutch’ gables and pretty arts and crafts stained glass windows – and so I didn’t think then, and I don’t think now, that I had much to learn from Las Vegas. It turns out that I wasn’t the only one. Of British architects who made their names as postmodernists in the 1980s, not a single one would say now that they owed much to Robert Venturi, the American architect widely considered to

St Paul’s Girl’s School, Brook Green, Hammersmith, by Gerald Horsley (1904). Image © Timothy Brittain-Catlin
Mercers’ House, Essex Road, Highbury, London, by John Melvin (1992), photographed by Martin Charles. Image © John Melvin
Mercers’ House, Essex Road, Highbury, London, by John Melvin (1992), photographed by Martin Charles. Image © John Melvin
Epping Forest Civic Offices, by Richard Reid (1984-90). Axonometric by Richard Reid. Image © Richard Reid & Associates
Mercers’ House, Essex Road, Highbury, London, by John Melvin (1992), photographed by Martin Charles. Doctors’ Surgery frontage to Mitchison Road. Image © John Melvin
Continue reading "Understanding British Postmodernism (Hint: It’s Not What You Thought)"